The year 2013 was full of events. More painful than joyful events. Nonetheless, God's grace has been sufficient.
Here are ten most significant events that have occurred in the lives of Jeffrey and Kristin in 2013, with no order of priority or significance:
1. Kristin and I celebrated the 30th wedding anniversary in 2013. It has been purely God's grace. We traveled to Panama and Ecuador for the celebration and it was a wonderful time.
2. Amanda has been discharged from her military service as Captain with US Air Force in 2013. James is also in transition to a different type of aircraft. Joyce has been kept safe and healthy in Senegal in her service through US Peace Corps. Jeffrey's father was hospitalized due to illness, but he has improved significantly. All family matters have been under God's overflowing grace.
3. Rwanda suffered from macroeconomic challenges and as a result UOB also suffered from several setbacks, including a declined loan portfolio and borrowing client base, rising PAR and write-offs, threatened operational sustainability. This challenge has kept us humble throughout the year and made us confess that God reigns.
4. As a result, UOB had to dismiss 19 staff to curtail the operating expenses. It was the first time ever Jeffrey has done anything like this in his 30 plus career. It was extremely painful and sorrowful. It could have been complicated, but God's mercy prevailed and all received it well.
5. Kristin was successful in completing the construction of Yaramba Nursery in Gicumbi. Moreover, the construction cost-overrun was relatively minimal, while the construction quality was superb based on Rwandan standard. The Gicumbi District has chosen this nursery as the exemplary case for all other nurseries to be built in the district. This project would not have been made possible without prayer and financial support from friends and partners like you. Praise the Lord!
6. UOB launched the world's first interoperable mobile banking solution in partnership with mVISA. The system has been functioning relatively well. We have experienced some glitches here and there, but we have signed up more than 130 agents and 16,000 clients since April 2013. Moreover, God has provided us with financial resources timely for the needs we have had. Jehovah Jireh!
7. Jeffrey gave a notice to the board in March to resign from UOB in February 2014. He will have served at UOB for five years and will have been a good time to pass the torch. The successor has not been identified as of YE 2013 and he has agreed to stay on through April 30th. We trust that God will send the most suitable person to continue the mission to serve the poor in Rwanda.
8. UOB was selected to be the first Opportunity International implementing member to migrate into T24 R12 model bank, and the work has begun in 2013. This migration would enable UOB to serve its clients faster with easier and more convenient services. This project is scheduled to go live on April 1st, 2014.
9. Kristin and Jeffrey both traveled quite extensively in 2013. The countries traveled to include Korea, USA, Panama, Ecuador, UAE, Jordan, Ghana, Senegal, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and S. Africa. All travels went well and we have been kept safe and healthy. We experienced God's travel mercy.
10. We have continued serving God's people through preaching and teaching regularly at UOB staff devotions, Agape Church Rwanda, Shalom Bible Study and St. Etienne Cathedral. We were also privileged to serve for His Kingdom irregularly at several other places, including Pohang Joy Church, Business As Mission Consultation, Jubilee Presbyterian Church, Logos Central Chapel.
Our life tends to center around activities. But the real significance is more in being. It is about character development. But it is not easy to describe how we have drawn closer to the Lord. Nonetheless, I trust the good Lord has worked in us in His own unique ways to continue to shape and mold us into His image until the completion will be made when He returns.
We are grateful to our God who is always good and faithful and who has held our hands as we endeavored to walk with Him throughout the year 2013. We trust that He will achieve His good, pleasing and perfect will in 2014, however it may be, and we look forward to being part of His will. Praise the Lord!
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:12-14)
May the Apostle Paul's statement be our statement of confession not only towards the personal holiness but also whatever work He may bestow upon our little shoulder. May it become true!
- Jeffrey and Kristin Lee